Pithy Post: When the Ashes are Washed Away

On Ash Wednesday, and during the whole season of Lent, Christians around the world remember their mortality. Today, many of us remember it by putting ashes on our foreheads. It evokes that famous passage in the Bible:

For dust you are
and to dust you will return.
We remember intentionally and communally what we all know personally each time we lose a loved one. Our world is broken, we are broken, and we will break.
But are Christians just a bunch of morbid mood killers? No. We sit in the reality of our ashes so that we can fully celebrate it when Christ washes them away. Lent ends with Holy Week! Lent ends with Jesus taking on our mortality, donning our ashes for us, dying on the cross, and then raising from the dead on Easter day. Lent ends with Jesus washing away our ashes in the cleansing water of baptism.
Lent ends.

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Pithy Post: The Vocation of the Poet (Part 2)

The quote from Kenyon that I posted yesterday, about the poet being a relentless finder of names for things and an empathic companion to console in the face of loss, reminds me of someone. It strikes me that Jesus was an awful lot like that.

Jesus was the consummate truth-teller. He never shied away from naming what he saw. I remember a story Read more of this post

Why Are You So Busy?

Especially at this time of the year, when the academic world revs its engine, students, teachers, and parents have a ready-made answer to the typical “How are you?” question. “Good,”  (insert smile that shifts seamlessly into a knowing look of concern), “but super busy.”

The typical American today strives to be as attractive as the models on fashion magazine covers, as successful in work as Bill Gates, as sensitive a spouse and parent as Ward and June Cleaver, and as death-defyingly healthy as Lance Armstrong–all while maintaining the inner peace of the Dalai Lama. (Barnes, The Pastor as Minor Poet, 92).

Sound like anyone you know? Does it sound like you? Sometimes I think it certainly sounds like me. Read more of this post

A Short Letter to an Atheist about Rob Bell and Christian Controversy

This post is a reply to Ronnie, an atheist writing on Jon Kuhrt’s blog about his experience with Rob Bell and the surrounding Christian controversy.

Ronnie,

Thanks for being so transparent with your journey. I, for one, think I need to apologize on behalf of Christians for the rancorous rhetoric and contentious conflict surrounding Bell and his latest book. Another book that gets at the heart of this conflict, I think, is Prodigal God, by Tim Keller. Read more of this post